What to feed hedgehogs and badgers
Most wild mammals are nocturnal and secretive so you may not know you have any visitors. Whether you have an urban garden or you live in the countryside, hedgehogs, wood mice and even badgers often visit. You might be surprised at who makes an appearance!
Constantly putting out food can make wild mammals reliant on unnatural food sources. But putting out a bit of food during winter allows them to top up any low stocks, and gives them a helping hand through the cold and harsh weather.
Put out fresh food at dusk and don't forget a dish of fresh water!
Putting out a bit of food will help see wild mammals through the colder weather.
- Use a plain, meat-based cat food, or a specialist hedgehog food (sold in garden centres), which helps to keep their teeth sharp and clean.
- If you have a problem with cats eating the food, try placing the food under a brick shelter with a hedgehog-sized gap in it.
- If food isn’t eaten overnight, remove anything that will go off and replace it with fresh offerings in the evening. Research suggests that unpredictable supplementary feeding is beneficial e.g. moving the feeding spots around and scattering food in a more natural way.
Remember: it is important not to leave bread and milk out for hedgehogs as it can cause diarrhoea.
- Use wet cat or dog food, or a specialist badger food.
- Provide some fruits, such as apples, plums or pears, and nuts, such as unsalted peanuts or brazils.
- Leave out root vegetables like carrots, along with some cooked potato.
- If food isn’t eaten overnight, remove anything that will go off and replace it with fresh offerings in the evening.